Fairtrade Fortnight 2012 - An Overview - 27/03/2012
What is Fairtrade?
Fairtrade is more than just a different way of doing business. It’s a unique international movement with a bold and breathtaking mission: to change the way world trade works. It’s about a better deal for the people in developing countries we rely on for our everyday needs. It harnesses the power of shoppers, producers, businesses and campaigners and it’s growing all the time.
During a financial downturn, it’s the poorest that suffer first, and worst. On the world market, commodity prices rise and fall, making it difficult for producers to plan for the future. If farmers earn less than it costs to run their farm, they face real hardship – struggling to buy food or keep their children in school. They risk losing their land and livelihood.
People and Benefits
A business boost
Producers say that the main benefit of Fairtrade is that they receive a higher income through the Fairtrade minimum price. Along with longer-term trading relationships, this lets producers develop their businesses and plan ahead for their families.
The Fairtrade premium empowers farmers and workers to decide for themselves which projects to invest in to benefit their communities and their businesses.
Fairtrade standards aim to protect the environment for us all. Extra income from Fairtrade gives farmers the chance to invest in farming methods that are sustainable and help raise their standard of living.
In Costa Rica the Llano Bonito Cooperative bought two new ovens to dry processed coffee beans. They replaced wood burning ovens and save felling 10 hectares of forest every year. The new ovens run on environmentally-friendly fuel from coffee hulls and pulp. They dry the beans evenly to a high quality, earning the farmers a higher price.The co-op also uses waste coffee pulp for organic fertiliser. It is composted and sold to members. Before this, the coffee waste was tipped in the river, badly affecting water and wildlife.
Why Fairtrade is relevant to your business
Through stocking Fairtrade projects you are helping deliver transformational impacts to some of the 7.5 million people benefiting from Fairtrade worldwide.
Take that essential morning coffee.
Over 70% of the worlds coffee is grown by small-scale farmers on their own land, often members of co-operatives. Fairtrade supports small-scale farmers to work together to strengthen their co-operatives and community infrastructure, to improve quality and market knowledge so that they can compete more effectively in the marketplace. Fairtrade standards require the open, democratic running of co-operatives as well as promoting sustainable farming.
Tadesse Meskela from Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union, Ethiopia sums up their experience. ‘Our members have greatly benefited from the profits Fairtrade has generated. On top of that, we are now getting technical and financial support that enables us to continue our tradition of excellence. Therefore, Fairtrade membership is very important to our organisation and its members.’
How about that other vital breakfast drink, Tea?
Most tea comes from private estates. Here, the biggest concerns for workers are usually fair wages and decent working and living conditions. On commercial farms where hired labour is used, the Fairtrade standards are based on International Labour Organisation Conventions. They require estate or plantation owners to pay decent wages, promote the right to join trade unions and provide good housing where relevant.
As Mr J Devasagayam, Estate Supervisor, Stockholm Tea Estate in Sri Lanka states, ‘We all work together on the Joint Body; management and workers’ representatives are equal in status, I don’t feel intimidated by the presence of the manager... Fairtrade is raising our living standards. But just as importantly, it is changing people’s attitudes. We used to ask the estate manager or the government to do things for us to improve our lives; now we’re trying to do it ourselves’.
Stocking Fairtrade can support your business too.
Despite the recession consumers are spending more on Fairtrade products with the average spend rising by 5.5%. In 2011, 77% of the UK population recognise the Fairtrade mark – and you can use that to publicise the Fairtrade tea, coffee, chocolate and wine you’re serving. In addition, recent research from the IGD shows shoppers believe Fairtrade is worth paying a little extra for – this complements other factors such as High Quality ingredients and Locally produced – where independent cafes often excel.
How to get involved
Take A Step for Fairtrade
The Fairtrade Foundation is launching the Take A Step campaign at Fairtrade Fortnight to provide a platform for businesses to benefit from being part of the Fairtrade movement through increasing sales, building customer loyalty and effectively communicating why consumers should choose Fairtrade.
The Fairtrade Foundation expects 1.5 million steps to be registered, tens of thousands of unique visits to their website, trending on twitter, eye-catching Fairtrade point of sale in thousands of shops, and of course community events hosted by a lively 70,000 strong campaigner base – so this is an excellent chance for you to jump on board and harness the increased attention. Watch the video on YouTube by clicking here.
The Fairtrade Foundation are offering point of sale materials for cafes to use to promote Fairtrade, as well as digital resources. Find out more at www.step.fairtrade.org.uk
Expand your range of Fairtrade
You’ll know all about Fairtrade coffee and tea, but now more products are certified than ever –sugar, chocolate, hot chocolate, cola, juice, wine, beer and even spirits! Fairtrade products are stocked by a wide range of distributors so you many not even need to switch wholesalers.
Where to buy
If your business is interested in finding out about Fairtrade products, and how to get them, you can meet the Fairtrade Foundation at Caffe Culture in May on stand B8, ask your wholesaler, or find out more online www.fairtrade.org.uk.
Added: Saturday, 24th March 2012